Thursday, May 03, 2012

Honoring Veterans of the Military...and of Life

Among the friends we had lunch with last Monday was a fellow who served as a radar engineer in the European theater in World War II.  I asked plenty of questions and got wonderful stories in return -- stories about his training, the trip over the Atlantic in the Queen Mary, his unit shooting down 400 of the Nazi V-1 rocket bombs, the close call that was the Battle of the Bulge (and other close calls), the 2nd Lieutenant who wouldn't stoop to use a shovel, and a whole lot more.

Yes, we went on to talk about his life after the war and there were some great stories there too about the farms he worked, the kids he raised, the woman he loved -- and still does, they've already celebrated 68 years together -- the reverses he's suffered, the obstacles he's overcome, and the faith in Jesus Christ that sustains him and gives him wonderful hope for his future.

Chances are we will have opportunities to have similarly valuable conversations this afternoon when we present another "When Swing Was King" program at the place we started the outreach, Life Care Center here in Omaha. And that's one of the sweet blessings of the ministry. We love taking to them the music of their youth, photographs that kindle recognition and remembrance, tidbits of information about the big band musicians and songs that they find interesting and fun.

But it's the friendships we form, those connections where we share one another's stories, laughter, tenderness, hope and spiritual encouragement -- that's where the very best of the blessings are.

We will undoubtedly be talking to veterans today. I know of two guys, for example, who wouldn't miss a "When Swing Was King" for the world. And so we will have another chance to thank them for their service to America and her posterity (including us!).

But all of these senior citizens are veterans of life -- with all of the adventure, trials, successes, defeats, and accomplishments it has brought. And so we will honor them too. And learn from them. And, in our small way, serve them through music, merriment and more. Anytime you want to join us, come on along. The schedule is right here.